The quarter of my tree that has proven easiest to follow through on paper trail is from my maternal grandmother, Margaret Jane Henderson (1899-1982), born in Amble. Perhaps this is because she was the one who knew most about her own ancestors so she gave me lots of good clues when I had to prepare a family tree at school when I was eleven.
In the composite picture of my 4 grandparents on the right hand panel of the blog she is at the bottom left.
Here is a snippet showing the first few generations. It is the only section of my tree where I can get to 4th great grandparents with no gaps, and as you can see from the little black arrows I can go even further on 9 lines.
If any of these couples belong to you to then please drop me a line as that means we are cousins.
The master version of my tree has been developed on my laptop using FTM (Family Tree Maker). I synchronise it regularly with my public tree on Ancestry: Crackett-Webb-Turner-Henderson. I also have versions of my tree on My Heritage, thegenealogist.com, genesreunited and a couple of other sites, but these versions are a little out of date.
If you are interested in my family, drop me a line and I will send you an invitation to view my tree on Ancestry. You do not need to have a subscription. It is possible to establish a free guest account if you want to view an existing tree.
During my summer holidays I visited the Cullercoats Family History Research Group to see if they could help me with my Henderson, Miller, Newton and Oliver families from that area.
They are a very hospitable group of folks. They have local information and photos organised both by surname and by street. Worth a drop-in if you have Cullercoats ancestors. They are open on Monday afternoons and evenings at the Community Centre on Belle Vue Street.
I have now added three more generations to my direct maternal line. Got stuck for a couple of years at Margaret Watson as the name was so common, but have now pinned her down. So far my maternal line is confined to Northumberland, but I expect it may cross the border to Scotland or hop over to Ireland if I can get further back. This is what I have at present, taking me back 8 generations to 6th great grandmother Margaret Brewhouse.
Margaret Jane Webb, 1921 -1999, born Radcliffe, Northumberland
Margaret Jane Henderson, 1899 – 1982, born Amble, Northumberland
Margaret Jane Thornton, 1871 – 1912, born Choppington, Northumberland
Mary Oliver, 1842 – 1911, born Netherton, Bedlington, Northumberland
Margaret Watson, 1818 – 1895, born Ulgham, Northumberland
Mary Hutchinson, 1791 – ?, born Felton, Northumberland
Mary Brown, 1769 – ?, born Felton, Northumberland
Margaret Brewhouse, bef 1747, probably somewhere around Felton, Northumberland, but could be from further North or from Scotland.
As you can see, my ancient grannies did not have much imagination in choosing Christian names for their girls. Thankful that my Mam decided to break the mould and I did not end up as the fourth in a row of Margaret Janes.
I started out focussing on the family element of family history, but have now progressed to considering the history aspect too. With the exception of Romans and Vikings I was never particularly interested in history as a subject at school, so my knowledge of the history of the past two or three centuries is seriously lacking. As I have added new people to my tree I have tried to find out more about the historical context in which they lived their lives. This has given me much more insight into the transition from an agricultural society to the industrial age and also the timeline of events in the first World War. One of the most interesting pieces of historical research has been looking into where the Northumberland Fusiliers served in 1915 and 1916 to track the path of my great uncle Edmund Webb from enlistment at Amble to his death in battle at Flers-Courcelette.
Moving on from history to genealogy I can claim four H-names in my pedigree. All four come from my mother’s half of the tree.
H is for Hall
First in the alphabet comes Hall. My Hall ancestors lived at Elsdon in Northumberland and I have been lucky enough to find good sources of information about them.
H is for Hedley
Another of my pedigree H lines is Hedley. I have not found quite so many of them. They too have lived in the Elsdon area and I found them by following up the Hall line.
H is for Henderson
The closest of my H pedigree lines is Henderson, to be found in Amble and Cullercoats. My maternal grandmother was a Henderson.
H is for Hunter
My final pedigree H is Hunter. Yet another Elsdon connection found by tracking back up the Hall line.
My great great grandfather Randle Thornton died on 17 June 1907 at Amble in Northumberland. Randle was a 64-year-old coal miner when he died of Bright’s disease, which I understand to be chronic nephritis (kidney problems) and cardiac hypertrophy.
Randle married Mary Oliver in 1842 and they had 11 children: 5 girls and 6 boys. So far I have only focussed on the fates of two of their girls. Two Thornton sisters married two Henderson brothers. One of these couples was my great grandparents Archibald Henderson and Margaret Jane Thornton. The other couple was Newton Henderson and Mary Phyllis Thornton who are give rise to my California Henderson connection.